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King, Dexter Scott

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January 30, 1961 to January 22, 2024

On 30 January 1961, Dexter Scott King, the third child of Martin and Coretta Scott King, was born. He was named after the church where his father held his first pastorate. In her autobiography, Coretta Scott King wrote how glad she was that both Dexter and young Martin Luther King, III, had a chance to go with their father on one of his speaking tours in early 1968. She recalled that upon returning from the trip Dexter told her, “You know Mommy, I don’t see how my daddy can do so much, and talk to so many people and not even get tired at all” (King, My Life, 307).

Dexter attended Morehouse College and majored in business administration. Upon becoming chairman, president, and chief executive officer of the King Center in 2005, Dexter articulated his vision for his father’s legacy: “Our main goal is to educate the public about, and to perpetuate and promote, my father’s message of nonviolence to people around the world” (King, Growing, 200). Dexter also pursued a career in media and entertainment and has starred in and produced films, records, and television specials concerning the civil rights movement. His animated movie, “Our Friend Martin,” was nominated for an Emmy award. He is also the author of Growing Up King: An Intimate Memoir (2003).  Ebony magazine has featured Dexter in its “100 Most Influential Black Americans” lists, and he has appeared on numerous talk shows. In 1997, Dexter met with James Earl Ray and stated publicly that he did not believe that Ray was his father’s killer.


King, Growing Up King, 2003.

(Scott) King, My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr., 1969.